05 October 2011


With the recent anniversary of 9/11 and Veteran's Day coming up in just over a month, I've been thinking a lot lately about the men and women who serve our country, ordinary people who never asked to be heroes, but who deserve our honor and respect nonetheless.  Perhaps, I have a different perspective, as the spouse of a military member, but at this time of year, when people sometimes stop to reflect on the blessings we all receive  from those who are willing to sacrifice so much for us every day, I am especially grateful for my husband, his co-workers and the countless others who have served to give us the freedoms we so often take for granted.

Recently, I enjoyed the novel Ghost of Heroes Past by Charles Reid (2010, Ronsdale Press), about a boy who learns to appreciate these men and women of our armed forces.

                Johnny doesn’t care about history, and he thinks the Remembrance Day parade is a waste of time, but his dad insists that it’s important to go this year.  Johnny falls asleep, trying to come up with a viable plan for avoiding the parade.  He wakes to find the ghost of a soldier in his room, who leads him through time and space to witness the forgotten heroes of World War I and World War II.  As Johnny learns about these men and women, who demonstrated immense bravery and strength in terrible times, he realizes that his father is right.  It is vital that we remember the sacrifices ordinary men and women make in their military service.  Reid tells a captivating story of a young boy who learns that history is more than just faceless names and dates. 

The stories told by Reid's soldier-ghost are fascinating and leave the reader hungry for more.  He shows that war is never glorious, and that the people on both sides of the fighting are forced to make tough decisions every day, in fighting for what they believe is right.  For anyone who has ever wondered, "Why should I care about a war I had nothing to do with?" this book shows us that we all have a stake in remembering those who serve their countries.  The fascinating subject matter even makes up for the choppy storytelling and somewhat forced dialogue throughout the novel.

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